Local homeless charity Galway Simon Community has said it is concerned about the escalating COVID-19 crisis.
But the charity has assured that it is doing everything to make sure the people they are supporting can remain safe.
The coronavirus and the risks associated with COVID-19 pose very serious challenges for people who are homeless or living in homeless services.
Speaking about the focus of the organisation during this time, Karen Golden, CEO of Galway Simon Community explained the measures that have been put in place by the charity.
“There is a huge effort underway in Galway Simon Community to protect clients and staff at this very challenging time. A COVID-19 response team has been set up which is being advised by medical experts.
“Enhanced hygiene and infection control measures have been introduced and clients are being supported around good hygiene practices as every effort is made to stop the transmission of the virus.
“Rooms have been identified within Galway Simon’s Services that can be used by people supported by the organisation, should they need to self-isolate.
“Galway Simon Community is wholly focused on the health and safety of our clients, staff and volunteers and in ensuring that we can continue to run services for those who are homeless and at risk of homelessness in Galway,” Karen said.
The charity faces huge challenges in providing supports to the most vulnerable people in the community, at a time when they are already working in the front-line of the housing and homelessness crisis.
Galway Simon’s Bridge Resource Day Centre in Ballinasloe has closed for drop in services as of Friday 13 March.
However, the charity has advised that staff will continue to support clients on an outreach basis and those who want to access hygiene and laundry facilities can do so by phoning the Centre on 087 6496100 or 087 6491233.
Homelessness Prevention Services will continue operating.
However, support will be provided over the phone and by email/internet rather than in meetings and there may be delays, given protocols in place to protect clients, staff and the general public around transmission of coronavirus.
“We have an extraordinary team of committed staff and volunteers, who are pulling out all the stops to ensure that we do everything possible to keep people within our Community safe at this very difficult time,” Karen added.